Howard's Blog

Howard A. Learner

Working with President Biden to Accelerate Climate Actions

Whew! It’s a breath of fresh air to now have a President who is prioritizing climate actions and believes in sound science.

Today, President Biden is signing more executive actions that are a bold commitment to climate solutions, land conservation, and clean water protections. The President is stepping up the process of reversing the Trump administration’s environmental wreckage, accelerating climate change solutions, and building a more sustainable future for all. Welcome back to a federal government that is a large part of the solution instead of a large part of the problem!

Time to roll up our sleeves here in the Midwest and get to work with our governors, mayors and businesses to make a difference. Midwesterners are practical people who try to drive solutions. We take on tough challenges. We put in the work.

The Midwest is ground zero in the battle against climate change and for accelerating smart solutions. Our region is the nation’s transportation system hub and manufacturing center, and we have the nation’s largest concentration of remaining old, highly polluting coal plants. We should be the “between the coasts” fulcrum for clean energy and transportation innovations, which are good for the environment and the economy together.

The Biden administration is looking to work with the environmental community. We know a fair number of the key appointees at the White House, EPA, CEQ, and the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior and Transportation. They have the knowledge, skills and passion necessary to advance climate actions and solutions fully across the federal government. That’s a breakthrough.

Here is how we plan to work with the Biden administration to help provide a clean, healthy environment for all in the Midwest.

Accelerate Clean Solar Energy, Battery Storage, Wind Power and Energy Efficiency

We’re at the transitional point to “bend the arc” toward renewable energy and energy efficiency that’s the best, fastest and least expensive climate change solution. It’s good for job creation, good for economic growth and very good for the environment. Renewable energy is winning in the electric power market because it’s economically competitive and better technology. Federal government actions can quicken the pace of change and that avoids more carbon pollution sooner. Taxpayers’ money must be spent wisely to accelerate solar energy, battery storage, wind power and energy efficiency that work well.

Protect the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes hold more than 20% of the world’s surface fresh water, supply clean drinking water to 42 million people, help drive the region’s economy, and make this a great place to live and play. ELPC’s 2019 Great Lakes Climate Change Impacts state-of-the science report explains the existing damage, growing toxic algae outbreak and other problems that are getting worse. And, some rapidly-needed actions and badly-needed solutions. Let’s go. Protecting the Great Lakes is not just bipartisan – it’s nonpartisan.

Accelerate Clean Transportation and Better Mobility for All

The transportation sector is now the leading source of carbon pollution, and the Midwest is well-poised to offer solutions. Congress must invest in modernizing, improving and financially revitalizing accessible public transit for all. More mobility, less pollution. With “Amtrak Joe” as President, it’s finally time for the federal government to really invest in building a modern, fast and clean Midwest higher-speed rail network that improves mobility, reduces pollution, and pulls together our regional economy. The Midwest passenger rail system connects jobs, people and businesses in the large cities, mid-sized cities and rural hubs. Let’s get it moving in ways that people will want to ride the Amtrak trains, and will view passenger rail travel as a better option than tiring delayed short-haul flights and long car drives in winter. Let’s invest in EV charging infrastructure, and clean school and transit buses for Americans. It’s time to catch up and get ahead.

Engage on Equity

Lower-income people and communities disproportionately suffer the harmful health impacts from air and water pollution. That must change. Healthy clean air, safe clean drinking water, and the right to live in communities without toxic threats are basic human rights. Period. No doubts about ELPC’s commitment to action to protect healthy communities for all.

ELPC’s advocates are working to better protect the environment and health for people, our communities and our planet. Let’s go forward together and get even more accomplished.

Howard A. Learner,

President and Executive Director

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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